Monitor Places Cambridge NHS Trust into Special Measures

The health sector regulator, Monitor, has taken action against at NHS trust in Cambridge.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been placed into special measures, as the regulatory body continues to assess its ability to deliver services to patients.

Monitor is also looking for improvements to be made by the trust with regard to financial organisation.

The regulator was forced to act following an investigation into the fiscal performance of the Cambridge trust.

Governance arrangements within the trust were also investigated diligently.

The latest reports indicate that the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust expects to run up a deficit of £64 million during the financial year; effectively an overspend of around £1.2 million per week.

An investigation carried out by Monitor concluded that the Cambridge trust overall lacks adequate financial control and sufficient fiscal direction.

Monitor had already warned the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to implement financial control methods, but these have evidently not been put in place adequately.

At the time of writing, Monitor is of the opinion that there is no credible plan in place to address the rapidly expanding deficit at the organisation.

In addition to these problems, the Cambridge trust also failed to properly estimate the expense and challenges related to implementing its new ‘e-Hospitals’ electronic patient records system.

e-Hospitals had a significant impact on the provision of healthcare for patients in the Cambridge region, and the trust made insufficient preparation for the increased requirements.

The failure to address these issues led to significant cost increases within the Cambridge trust, and ultimately diminished the positive impacts of the new system.

Having investigated the trust in some depth, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals deemed the Cambridge trust to be ‘inadequate’ when it proffered its overall rating.

Concerns about staffing levels, delays in outpatients treatment, and governance failings where central to the verdict.

With monitor having taken action against the body, the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will now implement a series of steps with the aim of becoming financially sustainable.

In particular, the trust has agreed to:

– develop and implement a recovery plan to address its deficit

– finalise and deliver a plan to improve the quality of care for its patients

– undertake a thorough review of how the trust is managed

– strengthen its executive leadership

Stephen Hay, Managing Director of Provider Regulation, had the following to say about the verdict.

“Patients treated at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust deserve to receive the highest possible care, and so the failings that we and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have identified in the trust’s services are disappointing.

It’s reassuring that the trust has already started to address some of the issues raised by the CQC and our investigation. But much more needs to be done and the trust’s leadership needs to act quickly to resolve these issues.

Putting the trust into special measures will ensure it gets the extra help and support it needs and we will closely monitor the trust’s progress in making the improvements that its patients expect to see.”

More information on special measures can be found on the NHS Choices website.


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